Latest Blog Articles

Appeal Process Recognizes That Even Judges Make Mistakes

This article, written by Solomon Friedman, originally appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on March 1, 2013. Nobody likes to lose. This is particularly true in the criminal justice system, where the stakes are so high. A person accused of a crime faces enormous jeopardy – the possibility of a criminal record, steep fines, and of course, incarceration. Our legal system depends on many important checks, balances and legal rights to ensure fairness and equity for all. At the same time, we know that no one is perfect. Judges and juries err. And these mistakes must be corrected. Under Canadian law, [...]

By |May 25th, 2020|

In Ontario, Different Courts Play Different Roles

This article, written by Solomon Friedman, originally appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on February 8, 2013. The courtroom is the natural home of the criminal lawyer. It can often be confusing, however, for justice system participants — be they accused persons, complainants or witnesses — to understand the distinct roles played by the different courts in our criminal system. Often, clients will have heard about the “superior court”; they are less familiar with the provincial court or the Court of Appeal. In Canada, criminal offences are generally divided into two categories: summary conviction offences and indictable offences. Summary conviction matters [...]

By |May 25th, 2020|

Crown’s Role to Be Fair, Not Necessarily to Win

This article, written by Solomon Friedman, originally appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on May 31, 2012. The defence’s counterpart in the criminal justice system is the prosecuting lawyer, generically referred to as the Crown Attorney, or simply, “the Crown.” Although our court system is an adversarial one, the two sides are not simply mirror images of one another. Unlike defence counsel, who are specifically enjoined to be biased and zealous in the pursuit of their client’s interests, the prosecutor must take a dispassionate and detached view of the court proceedings, all in the name of the administration of justice. Our [...]

By |May 25th, 2020|

Right to Counsel, Yes, But There Are Limits

This article, written by Solomon Friedman, originally appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on February 10, 2012. In a previous article, we discussed the right to silence, its limitations and the role it plays in the context of a police interrogation. The right to silence, however, is incomplete without its legal Siamese twin: the right to counsel. These two rights, Justice Morris Fish of the Supreme Court famously wrote, “are close companions, like glove and hand.” Through the course of the “Right to Know” series thus far, it has most likely become apparent that our rights and freedoms are complex, nuanced [...]

By |May 25th, 2020|

The Limits on the Right to Remain Silent

This article, written by Solomon Friedman, originally appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on January 27, 2012. "You have the right to remain silent." Most are familiar with this phrase, usually uttered triumphantly by the hero detective as he handcuffs the elusive suspect, caught at last. Similarly, many people probably believe that the right to silence extends beyond the confines of television programs like Law & Order or Criminal Minds. Canadians, they assume, are entitled to remain silent in the face of a police interrogation. And they’re right. Sort of. In Canada, while the police have a general obligation to inform [...]

By |May 25th, 2020|

Meeting the Police: An Informed Citizen Won’t be Intimidated

This article, written by Solomon Friedman, originally appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on October 28, 2011. Whether you are protesting in an “Occupy” demonstration or simply making your way home from a late-night Halloween party, the “casual” police interaction is a regular feature of our lives. Such a meeting can be intimidating. The dark uniforms and polished shoes lend an air of unquestioned martial authority. Not to mention the holstered sidearm and mirrored sunglasses. Even the most confident individual can be reduced to a stammering mess in the face of a police officer saying: “I asked you a question, sir.” [...]

By |May 25th, 2020|

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